During my last couple of months as president of NAIOP Southern Nevada, I’ve been thinking about what the organization means to me. Really, I’ve been thinking about the concept as a whole: What does being part of any good, strong, professional organization mean to its members and board?
Overwhelmingly, the words camaraderie, relationships and resources stand out. I’ve been an NAIOP member since 1999 and for the past year have been honored to helm the organization. I’ve had the opportunity to have a front seat to all the benefits NAIOP provides, and the experience opened my eyes. Professional organizations are all about strong relationships.
Recently, NAIOP Southern Nevada held a speed-dating-esque workshop between our members and several local elected officials, including Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Larry Brown, Henderson Councilwoman Gerri Schroder and Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross. That event, to me, was the essence of what our organization and similar organizations are all about. Members sat at tables while our invited policymakers moved around the room, meeting and speaking with members in a cordial, informal atmosphere. It was a great event that connected a lot of great people in our community.
Many of our members already have strong working relationships with the municipalities in which we do business. And if a member doesn’t have a working relationship with an agency or a contact, other members do or have access to those who do and can facilitate meetings and introductions. Membership organizations encourage and enhance connections and relationships, often through monthly meetings and special events, to build camaraderie among members of different sectors of an industry.
Professional organizations can act like an open door to policymakers, industry people and others with whom members need or want to meet. Conversely, policymakers see membership organizations as a resource to better understand an industry and help them connect with those they need to meet.
My hope moving forward into 2016 is that the relationships NAIOP Southern Nevada and other local professional organizations work so hard to foster continue to grow and flourish. I also hope our events, such as the recent meet-and-greet, continue to connect our community and that our members’ relationships continue to strengthen and develop as the commercial real estate industry’s job market grows and develops new opportunities.
Charles Van Geel is president of NAIOP Southern Nevada and vice president of commercial leasing and sales at American Nevada Company.